Senate Moves to Nullify Biden’s Vaccine Mandates

Senate Moves to Nullify Biden's Vaccine Mandates

( – Republicans scored yet another win on December 9 by successfully passing a new bill in the Democratic-led US Senate that nullifies President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for employers. The results stand to render it all but impossible for the president to force businesses to comply with draconian vaccine-or-test guidelines. While the bill still needs to pass in the House, many Conservatives are already celebrating the news.

The Vote’s Results

Lawmakers began by invoking the Congressional Review Act, a section of legislation that grants Congress the right to nullify federal regulations with a simple majority. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) joined with every Republican representative in support of rolling back the mandate in a narrow 52-48 vote.

The Bill’s Background

The president first rolled out the heavily-criticized vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses employing more than 100 people in early November. At the time, he tapped the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to spearhead the initiative. Organizations that failed to meet the requirement faced steep fines and other punishments.

It’s important to note that the Senate’s recent vote didn’t stem from personal opinions on the COVID-19 vaccine itself. Nor did it attempt to make a statement on whether or not Americans should get vaccinated. Instead, Republicans sought to preserve freedom by preventing mandates from punishing workers and businesses over their private health decisions.

The core problem was simple: both of Biden’s now-canceled initiatives subtly and indirectly stripped away the individual’s right to choose how to respond to COVID-19. While businesses and employers could technically say no, each faced steep consequences for refusal to comply.

Companies were forced to lay workers off or even, in some cases, fire them altogether. The extreme reduction in manpower resulted in labor shortages that rendered it difficult or even impossible for the business to continue operating. That negatively affected their bottom lines.

Individual workers also faced dire consequences. Those who refused to get vaccinated could potentially find themselves without an income and unable to survive. Many courts would consider that duress.

Republicans also raised other concerns, such as the sensibility of asking businesses to police and punish their own workers. They also feared privacy and HIPAA violations associated with disclosing and storing private health info. Would companies respect individual rights?

What Comes Next?

While the results do constitute a win in the Senate, it isn’t yet clear whether or not the bill will actually become law. It now moves on for consideration within the House, where Democrats may very well shoot it down. The White House Office of Management and Budget also suggested that Biden veto it if and when it arrives on his desk.

For the moment, the future of the new bill remains uncertain.

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